Port Hope woman pleads guilty
to second-degree murder in baseball bat beating of common-law husband
at their Port Hope home in 2009
By Pete Fisher - Northumberland
November 28, 2012
OSHAWA - The common-law wife of a Port
Hope man found murdered in his home pleaded guilty to second degree
murder in a Oshawa courtroom.
Catherine Andrus turned 53 years old on the day she
was sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 12
years in a joint submission to the court.
She pleaded not guilty to first degree murder, but
guilty to the lesser charge of second degree murder.
Justice E.B. Minden called called it a “vicious,
callous, cowardly killing” of her common law spouse of 16 years.
Michel Leblanc, 53, was found dead inside their
home on Sept. 24, 2009 at 3 Pochon Avenue after emergency services
were called shortly after 8 a.m.
Court heard how Andrus’ teenage son is the one who
found Leblanc inside a bedroom the morning after he celebrated his
Minden said Andrus “pummelled her common law spouse
to death” with a aluminum baseball bat.
An autopsy showed at least five blows the head and
“any of the five blows could have killed him.”
Although no reason was given for the killing, court
heard that the couple did suffer from financial difficulties,
including Andrus’ gambling problem.
During the investigation into the murder, an
undercover officer, led Andrus to a confession and she was arrested
Although Leblanc was under the impression from
Andrus he was getting $5,000 in taxes back from the government, court
heard he actually owed that much in taxes.
She also gave the impression to friends and family
she was being treated for breast cancer.
Crown Attorney Brad Kelneck said the deception went
on for months.
On the day of the killing, the 16-year-old son was
getting ready for school when he went into the couple’s bedroom and
found his father’s lifeless body.
Kelneck said the bedroom was staged to look like a
home invasion with personal items including Leblanc’s wallet missing.
The items were later found in the van that Andrus
was driving and in her locker.
Kelneck read from the statement of facts stating
“it appeared Leblanc was asleep in bed and taken by surprise.”
Andrus removed her clothing as she anticipated it
would be a bloody attack before committing the murder. She had a
shower and used paper towels to clean up before discarding the bat and
towels in a ditch. The murder weapon has never been found.
From two life insurance policies, along with the
pension, she would have received $370,000 following Leblanc’s death.
Court heard how the murder may have been the
financial motivation for Andrus.
“It’s a second degree murder, but a first degree
tragedy,” Kelneck stated to the courtroom filled with friends and
relatives of both Leblanc and Andrus.
Victim impact statements were read by the family of
the best friend and family of Leblanc.
“Miche’ was our friend and like a brother to Sam,”
read Corrine Marmora whose husband was best friends with the murdered
“Sam is lost without him. His world is shattered.”
“His life was taken way too early be a senseless
act of violence.”
“We will always miss our gentle giant, but know he
will be waiting for us when it is our time to go.”
Brother and sister Robert and Carole Leblanc spoke
of their love for their brother and how their trust in people is gone.
“Mike was kind, thoughtful, loving and funny.
“We thought you loved him just as much as he loved
you, but we were wrong about that.”
His most favourite thing in life was being a
grandfather and you managed to take that away from him.”
“Our mother raised us to never use the word “hate”
in a hateful way. I believe she would allow us to use it now because
of what you have done to our family.”
They ended their statement with a message to
“You said at his funeral that one day you and Mike
will be together again. We know that this is not true because our
brother is up in Heaven.”
Leblanc’s daughter, Tami O’Connor said, “We no
longer get to build new memories.”
“Dad had a presence when he was in a room, and life
has become a lot quieter since he’s been gone.”
“Your life changes in a massive way when someone
you trust, love and respect betrays you with murder.”
Leblanc’s other daughter Tina Walters explained in
her statement, that Andrus meant to take him away from his children,
grandchildren, family and friends.
“We will never get to spend another second with my
dad, my children will grow up never knowing him.”
“My dad will never get another chance at life, but
the person who took his life will. Sometimes life just isn’t fair,
this is one of those times!
In her final words to the court before being lead
away, Andrus said the reason why she pleaded guilty is she is
responsible - and her love for everyone involved.
“I have no desire to put you through an ugly
To the Leblanc family she stated, “I will not be so
bold to ask for your forgiveness.”
But added when she is released she will not return
to either Port Hope or Cobourg.
“For everyone effected by my actions from the
bottom of my heart I am so very sorry.”
Andrus will be eligible for parole on Sept. 13,
She was also ordered to give a DNA sample and a
lifetime firearms prohibition ban.
Port Hope woman sentenced to
life for murder
Judge calls killing of common-law
husband 'vicious, cowardly'
By Jeff Mitchell -
November 27, 2012
OSHAWA -- A Port Hope woman made
a tearful apology to members of her murdered partner's family before
being led away to begin serving a prison sentence Tuesday.
"I have no desire to put any of
you through what would undoubtedly be an ugly trial," Catherine Andrus
said from the prisoner's dock at the Oshawa courthouse.
"I pray you will all feel a sense
of justice at the end of this day."
Ms. Andrus, 53, pleaded guilty to
second-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of her common-law
husband Michel Leblanc, whose body was found by his teenaged son in
their Pochon Avenue home on the morning of Sept. 24, 2009. Initially
charged with first-degree murder, Ms. Andrus admitted to repeatedly
bashing the sleeping man in the head with a baseball bat, then trying
to pass off the crime as a robbery gone wrong.
Ms. Andrus received a life
sentence with parole eligibility set at 12 years. She has been in
custody since her arrest in September 2010, making her eligible to
apply for release in 2022.
"This was a vicious, callous,
cowardly killing," Superior Court Justice Edwin Minden said in setting
the sentence. "The offender literally pummelled her sleeping spouse to
The courtroom was packed with
friends and relatives of Mr. Leblanc, many of them weeping. Victim
impact statements read into the record described the 53-year-old Mr.
Leblanc as a cheerful, generous man, dedicated to family and friends.
Tears were also shed by members
of Ms. Andrus's family, including her teenaged son, a boy Mr. Leblanc
had legally adopted as his own.
Court heard Mr. Leblanc's killing
came after some years of financial strain in his 16-year relationship
with Ms. Andrus. The couple had ongoing debt issues, exacerbated by
Ms. Andrus's gambling, according to a statement of facts read into the
record by prosecutor Brad Kelneck.
"Their credit cards were in
default and frozen, and numerous disconnection notices had been sent
to their home," Mr. Kelneck said. "Their property taxes were also in
In the days leading up to his
death, Mr. Leblanc had two issues predominately on his mind, Mr.
Kelneck said: One was an anticipated tax refund cheque he was counting
on to help with money issues. The second was an appointment Ms. Andrus
had in Kingston on Sept. 24, 2009 for a biopsy on her suspected breast
As it turned out, however,
neither was true. Police searching the family home after his killing
found a letter from Revenue Canada informing Mr. Leblanc that, in
fact, he owed $5,000 in taxes. And Ms. Andrus was faking the cancer
scare when she convinced her husband to call in sick on the day he
died, court heard.
"There is no evidence she had
confessed this to him," Mr. Kelneck said.
Court heard that on the morning
of Sept. 24, Ms. Andrus bludgeoned her spouse, smashing him five times
with a baseball bat as he lay sleeping in their bed. She then
scattered items about and removed valuables to create the robbery
Court heard Ms. Andrus did some
cleaning up with paper towels, showered and left for her 6 a.m. shift
at a Tim Hortons restaurant, disposing of the towels and the murder
weapon on the way. The couple's son, who had celebrated his 16th
birthday the previous day, discovered Mr. Leblanc's body shortly after
Ms. Andrus delivered a moving
eulogy at her partner's funeral days later, court heard.
Ms. Andrus was arrested nearly a
year later, on Sept. 13, 2010, and confessed to the killing. Court
heard she stood to gain an estimated $370,000 through insurance
policies and pension payouts.
On Tuesday -- her 53rd birthday
-- Ms. Andrus stood in the prisoner's dock to face Mr. Leblanc's loved
ones. Clutching notes between her cuffed hands, she took
responsibility for her actions.
"I will not be so bold as to ask
for your forgiveness," she said.
"From the bottom of my heart, I
am so very sorry."